Showing posts from March, 2008

Diana, Dodi and Hasnat

Hello! Magazine reported recently that Princess Diana's former boyfriend Hasnat Khan testified at the never ending inquest to determine whether or not the late Princess's death was accidental or part of a conspiracy several weeks ago via a statement that Diana broke up with him not the other way around as been reported in various biographies since her death. He insists that she came back from her first vacation with Dodi and the Fayeds and told him that it was over. In Tina Brown's recent book, The Diana Chronicles , she stated that she had it from reliable sources that it was the other way around. Presumably Dr. Khan's statement must have been taken under oath, so he would have no reason to lie. "I think Diana finally realised that (he) could give her all the things I could not," wrote the doctor. "He had money and could provide the necessary security." Hasnat added, "She wanted to be with someone who was happy to be seen with her in public a

Christine Keeler and the Profumo Affair

In the wake of the recent revelations that the now former Governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer, had been having relations for years with a series of high class call girls, it made me think of other sex scandals, and who does a sex scandal better than the British? Particularly when it involves politics. Charles Stewart Parnell and Kitty O'Shea, Jeffrey Archer, but the biggest sex scandal ever in Britain was the Profumo Affair. By the time the dust cleared, the Prime Minister had resigned due to 'ill-health' and the Labour party was swept into office with Harold Wilson as its leader and the new Prime Minister. Let's go back into time shall we to 1963. Long before the swinging 60's were in force, and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones launched the British invasion, England was still recovering from the devastation it suffered during WWII. Rationing had only ended in the late 1950's. King George VI had died and his daughter Elizabeth II was celebrating her tenth yea

Pauline Cushman - Union Spy

In 1863, a beautiful young actress was appearing in a theater in Union-controlled Louisville, KY when she was approached to give a toast to Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the stage for a considerable sum. The actress was a staunch Union supporter and at first wasn't interested. However, an idea came to her, and she approached the Union General in the area (Kentucky being a border state was forced to stay within the Union, despite the fact that half the state had sympathy for the Confederates). She offered her services as a spy for the Union. After testing her loyalties, she was given permission to accept the money and to make the toast. For her audacity, she was fired by the management. The actress's name? Pauline Cushman. Pauline Cushman was actually born Harriet Wood in New Orleans in 1833. After her father lost all his money when she was 10, they subsquently moved to Michigan where Harriet grew up. She was a tomboy who loved to ride horses, and play sports as wel

The Thistle and the Rose - the Life of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland

The producers of The Tudors have stated that they combined Princess Margaret and Princess Mary into one composite character called Princess Margaret because they were worried that viewers would get confused between Henry's sister and Henry's daughter. Which is Hollywood speak, for "we're too lazy to actually try and make a distinction in the script." Let's remember for a moment, that the future Mary I wasn't even born yet when the events concerning Mary Tudor's marriage to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk took place. That's how the writer's could have made the distinction! What of Henry's elder sister, Princess Margaret? What was she doing while events were unfolding in England that changed forever the history of the church in England, as well as the monarchy? Well, Mary was in Scotland, a widow after the death of her husband, James III, and about to be divorced from her second husband, Archibald Douglas, the Earl of Angus. But let's b

Mary Tudor - Romantic Rebel

These two posts are borne out of one history geek's frustration with Hollywood, in particular, the producers of Showtime's original series, The Tudors . For those who haven't watched The Tudors , the writers decided to combine Henry's two sisters into one, named Margaret Tudor, who in the series marries the King of Portugal and then later kills him. Needless to say this is not historically accurate, or even really good drama. Henry had two younger sisters, Mary and Margaret and their subsequent marriages and descendents are an important part of Tudor history and shouldn't be ignored. The lovely lady in the two portraits on the left is Princess Mary Tudor, the youngest surviving daughter of Henry VII and his Queen Elizabeth of York. Mary was born on March 18, 1496, and grew up to be considered one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe. She was exuberant and energetic like her brother Henry. Like him, she loved dancing and parties, and spectacle. She also had a h

Sarah, Duchess of York

Twenty-two years ago, a fun loving, flame-haired woman named Sarah Ferguson became engaged to the Queen's second son, Prince Andrew. She was hailed as being a breath of fresh air to the Royal Family, with her cheekiness and wacky outfits (does anyone recall some of the horrors that she showed up in at Royal Ascot before the wedding?), the contrast to her sister-in-law to be, Princess Diana whose persona as 'Shy Di' had captivated the nation five years prior. Unlike the Prince and Princess of Wales, it was clear that Prince Andrew and his bride to be were madly in love. Sarah vowed to be the perfect navy wife, standing by her man, while she learned her royal duties. So what went wrong? How did Sarah, Duchess of York go from being the bright shining hope of the Royal Family to a pariah in less than six years? To being called names in the tabloids like "The Duchess of Pork" and "Freeloading Fergie"? Sarah Margaret Ferguson was born on October 15, 1959 to M